Peter Misselbrook's Blog
May 16 2019 - 1 Kings 2:1-12 – David's death

David is approaching death and his son Solomon will soon be king. David tells him, "Be strong, act like a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel’" (1 Kings 2:2-4).

David tells Solomon that the prosperity of the whole nation depends upon his faithfulness to the Lord and the faithfulness of the kings who succeed him. We shall see how this works out in the unfolding history of the kings of Judah and of Israel.

It would have been good if David's advice had stopped there; that would have challenged Solomon to live a life pleasing to the Lord. But David has more to say. As he faces death he calls to mind some who have been a help and blessing to him in the difficulties he faced at various times in his life; he asks Solomon to "show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table" (v. 7). They are to be honoured as part of the king's family. But David spends rather more time telling Solomon to punish those who have harmed him or have brought his reign into disrepute; Solomon is to ensure that, unlike David, they do not go down to their graves in peace. David leaves a deadly legacy for Solomon to administer.

How different is the legacy of our Lord Jesus Christ, David's greater son. He is the one whose faithfulness to God has secured his kingdom for all eternity. But he is also the one who did not seek vengeance on those who tortured him to death but prayed that his Father would forgive them. It is because of him and his atoning work that we can rejoice that we are not treated as our sins deserve. Because of his love for us, when we were rebels and sinners, we can now face death without fear, knowing that he has conquered sin and death for us – our "grey head can go down to the grave in peace". We know that he was raised from the dead for us and that we too shall share in his resurrection life – we are embraced as members of his family and shall feast at his table. Jesus has left us, his enemies, a legacy of blessing and of glory.

And Jesus calls us not to be imitators of David but of himself. We also are to be those who forgive our enemies, who refuse to hit back against those who have hurt us. We are to be more concerned to show love and compassion to others than we are to safeguard our own reputation.

If you knew that you were approaching death and you were able to gather your family around you to talk with them, what would be your final words to them? What instructions might you have for them? What legacy will you leave behind for them? What will the executor of your wishes be required to do in your name? How will you be remembered?

Father, thank you for the matchless legacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. In him we have been made heirs to all the riches of his glorious kingdom. Help us by your Spirit to be more like our gracious Saviour: to forgive as we have been forgiven; to love as we have been loved. May our lives bring others to share in this inheritance. Help us to leave a legacy of blessing which will give life to others.

Peter Misselbrook